Ms. Chavez prepares to bust a star-shaped hole in the hit mobile game!

America Chavez makes her way to “Marvel Puzzle Quest” soon, fists flying and sass on point. Curious about the reality-hopping hero and her powers in “MPQ”? Well we had a little chat with D3 Go! Senior Producer Josh Austin to figure out just what America’s capable of, and it turns out she’s crazy unique! Read on for the breakdown folks.

Marvel.com: America’s been kicking bad guy butt for a while in the comics, but why is now the right time for her to join the “Marvel Puzzle Quest” crew?

Josh Austin: America Chavez is a strong Super Hero, and makes an excellent [choice] as the newest 4-star character in “Marvel Puzzle Quest.” Her kick butt abilities are a good fit in the roster and it was fun to create a character that focuses on collecting/storing AP to deal damage rather than the usual collecting and spending AP.

Marvel.com: America has a bunch of abilities, from super strength and speed to creating portals to different realities. What did the team want to focus on when designing her in-game powers?

Josh Austin: The designers wanted to incorporate her unique abilities and did so in an interesting, all passive, way. She’s a character that the player won’t have to activate her powers, as they automatically trigger based on certain conditions.

Marvel.com: And what can she do in the game?

Josh Austin: Her first ability is called Punch Everyone and it’s a Red Passive. For this ability America’s match damage is increased for each AP she has in that color.

Her second ability, Ticket to the Multiverse, is a Yellow Passive. Every time the player matches four or greater, trap tiles are created in that color. If the player has three different colored trap tiles, they are removed, deal damage and generate AP in that color.

Her last ability is called Fear Not, Mi Gente! and it’s a Green Passive. At the start of the turn, she creates a Critical tile if the player has more AP than the enemy in at least four colors. If the player has more AP in at least five colors she does damage as well.

Marvel.com: Am I reading that right, she has three passives? What was the thinking behind that?

Josh Austin: We are doing something different, making a character that the player can utilize, while focusing on a different character’s abilities. She’s going to be pretty tough with that ability to do extra damage for stored AP. I can’t wait to see what the players will do with that! Since she’s mostly focused on collecting AP, it makes sense to have her abilities not focus on spending AP.

Marvel.com: Because she won’t be spending any AP, who exactly do we want her teaming up with? People who create critical tiles maybe?

Josh Austin: She’s strong with characters that gain AP, so Gambit’s Stacked Deck, Vulture’s Circling Prey, and Miles Morales’ Power & Responsibility help gather AP for her abilities. Picking characters that do not overlap with her powers also helps so she can collect AP in colors she uses. Characters like Kate Bishop and Mordo will work, as their colors do not overlap with America, but Kate Bishop can use the Critical tiles from Fear Not, Mi Gente! with her 4.5x damage multiplier from Critical Tiles. Characters with low AP costs also help like Hawkeye (Clint Barton) to be used cheaply and effectively provide support without taking too much AP away from America.

Marvel.com: And when do we get to try her out for ourselves?

Josh Austin: America Chavez will be available on December 24. She will be featured in a S.H.I.E.L.D. Training event running between December 24 and 31. America & Friends is a Vault that will run between December 28 and January 6 with a chance to get her. America Chavez’s release debut will be in the Venom Bomb event running between December 24 and 31.

America will also be featured in the Enemy of the State event running between December 28 and January 5. Her Versus Tournament will be Stars and Strikes that runs from December 28 through January 1. S.H.I.E.L.D. Training, Enemy of the State, and Stars and Strikes will all have Reward Tokens for the America & Friends Vault.

Lastly, we would like to announce Snowball Fight, which is a fun Versus Tournament that starts tomorrow on December 21, where the player joins forces with Star Lord (Peter Quill), Captain America (Steve Rogers) and Cyclops (Uncanny) as they fling snow in the toughest fight of the year! The player has three missions where they must choose a specific character from a family. There is a Snowball hazard tile that destroys a block of tiles to add to the fun and it features some of my favorite art for an event so far. Happy Holidays everyone!

Have fun with “MPQ” holiday shenanigans here and stay tuned to Marvel.com and @MarvelGames on Twitter for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews.

Read More

Gabby Rivera teases a final showdown with The Exterminatrix!

The Exterminatrix has America Chavez up against the wall. And now that she’s been isolated from her friends and allies, the only one our hero can rely on might just be herself.

On December 20, America’s fight against The Exterminatrix comes to an epic conclusion as writer Gabby Rivera and artists Jen Bartel and Joe Quinones set the hero up with her final shot at the villain in AMERICA #10!

We caught up with Gabby to hear more about America Chavez’s big moment.

Marvel.com: America has a few new powers in her repertoire. Tell us a little bit about them!

Gabby Rivera: One of her new abilities will be the power stomp, which we saw when she went to Vegas with Madrimar. If she flies upward and uses a lot of her energy to come back down, she can slam hard enough into the ground in a way that basically levels everything. That’s something I wanted to play around with—the ways in which Madrimar can help America fine tune her abilities and find the other special things that she can do. She already has so much power, so now it becomes about the ways we can hone that and give her other cool tricks.

One of the powers that she has developed over the series has been the ability to punch open multiple portals to find someone she’s looking for. Storm helped her develop that, and she’s trying to use it to subvert Dr. Brightly, which would allow her to do the right thing under a change in administration at the school… But I don’t want to say too much!

Marvel.com: By the way, Storm’s recent interactions with America have been so great to read!

Gabby Rivera: Oh my god, I love that! It felt legendary for me to write Storm. I felt like it might’ve been one of the best moments of my life. I loved being able to bring Storm in as a top-level, iconic mentor for America; to have them engage with each other in a thoughtful way, a loving way, and also a very physical way. They fly and fight and learn together. Storm shows America that she’ll always be there for her. It’s important to show women of color bonding and helping each other evolve. There’s a Storm renaissance!

Marvel.com: The Exterminatrix stands as a very formidable opponent—and she has the Midas Corporation on her side. How will America’s new powers help her in this fight?

Gabby Rivera: The “Exterminatrix” arc has showed that, yes, America’s powers are important, but so is her team. Exterminatrix has so much power behind her, but we realized that America does too. So how do we build up Prodigy and the Betas and others? They’re present, and they’re also part of the fight for the soul of Sotomayor University. America is super powerful and she could obliterate everything, but it’s never that simple.

Because Exterminatrix is so powerful and her weaponry is so refined (and sociopathic!), America really experiences a tremendous injury. So how does she recover from that and where does it take her? We link her pain to the connections she experiences with her family and her ancestors. In her pain and in her healing, she sees that people have her back. And she has the ability to say, “Okay, I don’t have to do everything on my own. In what ways can I really channel what I’m supposed to be doing and what I’ve learned in order to defend the school and be part of the team?”

Marvel.com: Beyond this fight, how what she learns here impact her approach to being a super hero moving forward?

Gabby Rivera: This is a non-traditional super hero story. America Chavez navigates grief, identity, and personhood. And we want to do it in a way where she’s reflective, and still headstrong, brave, and a little reckless. She possesses a spiritual power that she hasn’t tapped into yet, but we got the seeds of that in issue #7 with her origin story.

Marvel.com: What do you see as the most important takeaways from this arc?

Gabby Rivera: That she’s not alone. That folks love her and that she has family. And also, just because you can use force to fix a problem and blow something up doesn’t always mean that it’s the best thing to do.

Even though she had a leadership position with the Ultimates and she has proven herself as a person who can make good decisions, now she’s forging her own path. And I think that, even though we can often show up for a group, sometimes we don’t do that same thing for ourselves. So now, America is learning that she has to show up for herself too.

AMERICA #10, by writer Gabby Rivera and artists Jen Bartel and Joe Quinones, drops on December 20!

Read More

Gabby Rivera teases the hero’s Marvel Legacy clash with Exterminatrix!

Exterminatrix has finally caught up with her prey. And America Chavez faces one of her greatest foes yet in AMERICA #8!

A.K.A. Oubliette Midas, the baddie claims to have killed vampires and gods, so America will be tested like never before. As Marvel Legacy dawns, she’ll need Grandma Madrimar—and all of her friends—to survive and somehow defend Sotomayor University. Written by Gabby Rivera with art by Joe Quinones, the test has never been tougher for the red, white, and blue hero.

We caught up with Gabby to hear more about what she has in store for America.

Marvel.com: America has some incredibly impressive abilities, but so does Oubliette…would you consider her powers a match for our hero’s?

Gabby Rivera: Exterminatrix will wreak havoc on America Chavez and Sotomayor University. Oubliette’s ability to manipulate any situation to her advantage will blindside America and her crew. She’ll be at least ten steps ahead the entire way.

America’s going to have to see past the mind games and dig deep into what really motivates Exterminatrix.

Marvel.com: Something else going against AmericaOubliette has the Midas Corporation on her side…

Gabby Rivera: The Midas Corporation has already taken shots at America in issue #5 and #6—the two-story arc with Kate Bishop A.K.A. Hawkeye. We saw their hold on Magdalena—America’s childhood friend and almost ex-girlfriend—and how deep their reach goes into the Underworld. We haven’t seen the last of Midas, that’s for sure—and with Exterminatrix invested in America’s downfall, they’re bound to pull out all the stops.

Marvel.com: How will America handle this threat?

Gabby Rivera: America’s not going to want to play as dirty as Exterminatrix…but she might have to be brutal to save both Sotomayor and herself.

Marvel.com: What else can you tease about issue #8?

Gabby Rivera: X’Andria and Prodigy have some really great moments in this upcoming Exterminatrix arc…I’d keep an eye out for them too!

Enter the fray with AMERICA #8, by Gabby Rivera and artist Joe Quinones, on October 25!

Read More

Artist Joe Quinones pits the star against Exterminatrix!

She’s faced The Demiurge, teamed up with Galactus, started life at a new college—but America Chavez faces her biggest challenge yet in AMERICA #8!

On October 25, writer Gabby Rivera and artist Joe Quinones bring our hero face-to-face with The Exterminatrix for Marvel Legacy! America will need everyone at her side—not least Grandma Madrimar—as the super villain goes on a warpath.

We spoke with Quinones about his continued relationship with America, making homages in his art, and working with Gabby Rivera.

Marvel.com: How has your relationship with America Chavez changed as you’ve drawn her more?

Joe Quinones: Like any character, the more time I’ve spent drawing America, the more I understand her. Drawing her becomes second nature and I start to get a real handle on her body language and personality. It’s important to have that through line, given that her outfits constantly change. I love drawing her.

Marvel.com: Were you able to put your own spin on The Exterminatrix and her minions when preparing for this issue?

Joe Quinones: Absolutely. I had my own take on [artist] Russell Dauterman’s designs for her from THE MIGHTY THOR, with some design suggestions from AMERICA‘s own [artist] Ming Doyle. I wanted to add a little more color into her outfit with the two-tone cape and to open up her face mask a bit so we could see her mouth. Ming suggested the kiss mark eye holes and I loved the idea.

Marvel.com: Apparently, you’ve managed to incorporate a family pet into the Marvel Universe…

Joe Quinones: Yes! I felt inspired by my tenure on HOWARD THE DUCK, where [writer] Chip Zdarsky and I incorporated my real life cat, Biggs, into the story. Here we have a cameo by my sister’s dog, Charlie—an energetic little pug-chihuahua. I can’t say it has a huge influence on storytelling, it’s just a fun connection for me to enshrine these two animals I love in the comics I’m drawing.

Marvel.com: How has it been working with the AMERICA crew on this series?

Joe Quinones: Everyone has been so nice and supportive of each other since the start. I finally got to meet Gabby a month ago and she was a ball of energy and ideas. [Editors] Wil Moss and Sarah Brunstad have kept the train running and have a keen understanding of the voice of the book.

Marvel.com: Readers might notice a nice Norman Rockwell nod in this issue. Do you come up with those references or do they appear in the script?

Joe Quinones: Yes, indeed. I nod to Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom of Speech” painting in this issue. I also referenced his “Freedom of Worship” piece for the cover to issue #10. I thought it appropriate as America tries to stand up and speak truth to power in this scene. It didn’t appear in the script, but I feel like borrowing from these iconic pieces helps speak to the heart of the book—we are immigrants and people of color. We are Americans. We are free and here to stay.

Snag the final product in AMERICA #8, by writer Gabby Rivera and artist Joe Quinones, on October 25!

Read More

The kick-butt heroine kicked off her own series this week, but check out how she got her start!

Earlier this week history was made when AMERICA #1 launched by Gabby Rivera and Joe Quinones as it marked the first time an LGBT Latina headlined her own ongoing series at Marvel! To celebrate the occasion, let’s look back at her first appearance in the six issue series VENGEANCE!

The 2011 comic by Joe Casey and Nick Dragotta first fully introduced us to Miss America as she leapt into a giant missile silo on her own. She exhibited super strength and the ability to fly as she searched for her prize: an imprisoned and unconscious In-Betweener.

Later in that same issue, a new hero by the name of Ultimate Nullifier revealed that he and Ms. America belonged to a group called the Teen Brigade hearkening back to the kids in AVENGERS #1 who tried contacting the Fantastic Four, but instead their signal made its way to Thor, Ant-Man, Wasp and Iron Man and the team was born.

According to VENGEANCE, several iterations of the Teen Brigade go back to World War I and they’ve always focused on helping heroes without them knowing about it. In this first appearance, Chavez acted as one of the group’s heaviest hitters. In fact, she was still carrying the In-Betweener back to headquarters when the Braak’nhud appeared.

Though the ensuing fight proved brutal, she not only fought them off, but kept her new acquisition safe. From there it gets less and less simple to sum up the events of this series which also included the New Defenders, a group of younger villains called the Young Masters who wanted to kill their older counterparts, a WWII-era Red Skull plot, deeply buried S.H.I.E.L.D. espionage, and the like.

However, this Miss America came off as hard-edged and tough, especially when facing villains or being thrust into the Realm of Tiboro by Kid Loki. There she stood up to the creatures who attacked her before as well as the wrath of Tiboro, God of Decay. Eventually, the Defenders appeared to help finish the creature and they all made it back for the big battle.

Ms. America then remained dormant for a while until Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie launched YOUNG AVENGERS in 2013. In that series we learned more about America’s past which actually started on the Utopian Parallel located outside of normal time and space. She grew up with her two moms who sacrificed themselves to save their home from the black holes popping up thanks to the invading Demiurge.

Feeling lost and without an anchor, America started using her newfound abilities—which also included dimension-hopping—to travel around, right wrongs when and where she saw fit. Eventually she wound up with the Teen Brigade, then the Young Avengers, and even A-Force and the Ultimates in more recent times.

Flash Forward

As mentioned above, America also spends a good deal of her time hanging out in ULTIMATES. In that book, she’s helped sate Galactus’ hunger and fix some time travel troubles—among other problems—with her fellow super-smart super heroes, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Blue Marvel and Spectrum. Civil War II proved tough on the team, but they’re back together in ULTIMATES 2 as Galactus’ heralds with America in charge.

Read More

Writer Gabby Rivera joins the Podcast to chat America Chavez!

For this week’s podcast, hosts Judy Stephens and Sana Amanat are joined by novelist Gabby Rivera, writer of America, and editor Wil Moss to chat America Chavez!

Listen to the Women of Marvel – Episode 135 now!

We are now on Soundcloud! Head over now to our new hub to listen to all 135 Women of Marvel podcasts!

——————–
The Women of Marvel podcast assemble to chat all things Marvel and more! New episodes will be released every Friday, co-hosted by Marvel Director, Content and Character Development Sana Amanat, Marvel.com Producer Judy Stephens, along with Marvel DMG Senior Social Media Manager Adri Cowan.

Have feedback or questions? Email us at WomenOf@marvel.com, or tweet your questions and comments to @Marvel with the hashtag #WomenOfMarvel!

Read More

Writer Gabby Rivera imparts some important lessons on her new leading lady!

In the upcoming AMERICA #1—out March 1—we’re going to see America Chavez going off to college. Like many students, America will have the chance to start really finding herself—and we’ll get to see some new sides of her personality.

With that in mind, we asked writer Gabby Rivera about a few of the personal lessons America will learn, both on and off campus.

Marvel.com: What are America’s interests, besides super-heroics?

Gabby Rivera: Well I think as far as her interests, we may not necessarily see her pursuing a lot of things that are new to her, but we as readers will get to get a glimpse of that part of her. We’ll see what kind of music she likes, what she does for fun—those little elements of her personality that we may not have seen in the past. And we’ll have the chance to see her in the classroom, interacting with the people around her.

She’ll also invest herself in what she’s studying: ancient revolutionaries and ancestral knowledge. How did indigenous folks conquer monsters? What tips and tricks can she pick up? She’ll take a look back at historical figures and women. And she’ll take a P.E. class that will involve bodybuilding and stunt man-like training. She’ll have that freshman year of college experience where you sort of try everything. And later on, maybe not in this arc, she’ll take some nerdy, science classes, too.

Marvel.com: Will she have the chance to learn about her lineage?

Gabby Rivera: I don’t want to give too much away, but she will have the chance to get a glimpse of the long line of women she comes from, and their connection to the planet. And also their history of kicking some ass—testing the body, being physical, and letting that sort of energy out. So we’ll see her exploring the peaceful aspects of her lineage, but also the physical and strong elements, and how those can live in balance with each other. America even gets to know some of her ancestors. She’ll get to enjoy finding family, and experiencing a connection to her roots. She has had this separation from her homeland, and now she’ll encounter it again as an adult, and we’ll see her figuring out her own relationship with her history.

Marvel.com: What truly drives her as a super hero?

Gabby Rivera: It’s funny—we see her trying to run away from the one thing she can’t run away from. She goes to college to do something different and to step away from the super hero scene, jumping from mission to mission. But she has this power within her, and she also follows in the legacy of her ancestors. Her mothers sacrificed themselves for their world, for Utopia, so what else could she be? She has that instinct to protect and to love and to not think of herself first, but to think of the community and the people first. She has that so deeply embedded inside of her.

Marvel.com: What kind of adult do you think she’ll become?

Gabby Rivera: I think she’s going to become an adult who handles personal feelings a little better; she won’t always go running to the hills. She won’t always lash out. I think she’ll learn to take things in and act a little more reflectively. I think we’ll get to see her as an incredibly powerful adult—in ways that will excite and surprise us. And with that power, she’ll find a calmness that she hasn’t had before because she won’t have to prove anything, she’ll feel more comfortable with herself. And I think a part of her will want to mentor and guide younger super heroes.

Marvel.com: What kind of leader will she become, since she’ll eventually serve as head of the Ultimates?

Gabby Rivera: I don’t want to say anything that might contradict what the ULTIMATES 2 creative team will do. But I think moving forward, she’ll have a lot of strategic skill, and she’ll really know how to distribute her resources. She’ll have talent at planning thoughtful and kind of wild missions. I could see her as a really good spy, the one who shows up in a suit with a briefcase while six other missions are happening and she knows every move. I don’t think she has really flexed that quality yet. Right now, we see her as kind of the muscle, working her way up to becoming the boss. And eventually she’ll surpass that level and become a great leader.

Gabby Rivera and artist Joe Quinones present AMERICA #1, coming March 1!

Read More